MHA students battle adversity to case competition victory

December 18, 2017

Team takes first place at MGMA Case Competition

Team takes first place at MGMA Case Competition 

HOUSTON – A team of five students in the Master of Health Administration program won the Gulf Coast MGMA Case Competition Oct. 28, 2017, in Houston.

The competing teams were tasked with creating a viable business plan to implement a telemedicine program for a large scale accountable care organization in the Texas Gulf Coast region. The UIW students – (pictured L-R) Austin Lawler, Gilbert Torres, Zahida Mahmood, Khian Antwi and Stephen Lane – had less than two weeks to prepare their plan before presenting at the competition. If that weren’t hard enough, the first week of preparation coincided with finals for the MHA program.

The team developed a behavioral health program that demonstrated an ability to engage patients, improve patient outcomes and provide cost-effectiveness for the organization, all while maintaining provider and patient satisfaction. The business plan addressed a range of items including: 

  1. Strategic Vision
  2. Specific Service Line and Patient Type
  3. Health Economics/Reimbursement Strategy
  4. Clinical Work-Flow/Operations
  5. Marketing Plan

The team submitted their plan on the Tuesday before the competition and began working on the presentation. Each member was assigned an item from the list above to cover in the presentation. Two days before the competition in Houston, one of the team members was faced with a family emergency that prevented him from making the trip. The four other members worked with their teammate over the phone to divvy up his portion of the presentation on the night before the competition.

The four team members presented their plan to the judges and answered difficult questions about its details. They won first place out of the six teams competing and were presented a $1,000 check.

2017 was the first year a team from San Antonio has competed in the Gulf Coast MGMA Case Competition, which is in its fourth year of existence.

The UIW team was led by faculty adviser Dr. Chris Nesser (pictured at center), who served as a judge in last year's competition.